Thumbs - Our high country lowdown on the news - April 13, 2012

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By Optic Editorial Board

THUMBS DOWN! GARCIA’S TROUBLES. It was a bad week for Thomas Garcia, who is juggling three high-profile roles these days — as Mora Independent School District superintendent, a candidate for the District 8 state Senate position and as a District 68 state representative out of Ocaté.

After Garcia challenged District 8 Sen. Pete Campos’ legitimacy on the ballot — contending the senator didn’t specifically list District 8 on his filing papers — the state Supreme Court threw out the challenge. So now Garcia must go head-to-head on the ballot against Campos, who’s held on to that seat since 1991.

Then, the state Public Education Department yanked the business license of Roger Gonzales, the chief operations officer of the Mora Independent School District, and ordered him to repay $16,446 for misspending school funds. PED also found that Gonzales was performing administrative duties that require an administrative license — a finding that flies in the face of Garcia’s earlier defense that Gonzales’ job doesn’t require such a license.

You’d think Garcia would have known better, being a state representative since 2006.

THUMBS DOWN! EARLY ARRIVAL. Last summer and fall, Las Vegas was inundated with bears coming out of the wilderness in search of food. And if Thursday morning is any indication, we’ll have a similar invasion.

Game and Fish officials were called to the 1200 block of Seventh Street to retrieve a bear in a tree. In fact, we don’t remember the bear sightings starting this early last year, so it could be worse this year.

Stay safe, everyone, and remember to protect your children and critters.

THUMBS UP! GOOD LIGHTING. It’s been months since the University Avenue exit of Interstate 25 has been fully lit but this week it appears that the illumination has been resumed. Exit 345 is now a lot brighter, and we’re glad to see it. Well-lit intersections are a deterrent to crime and accidents.

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“There are lessons we can learn from the 2011 catastrophic wildfire season in New Mexico, when nearly one million acres burned.”
— Andrew Egan, New Mexico Forestry and Watershed Restoration Institute director, regarding the worst wildfire season on record and how it relates to efforts to protect the Gallinas Watershed.